|I agree with all business owners who have said more than once that business is on the weak side. However, survival is to think outside the standard, everyday business plan for ways to generate work and profit dollars during these difficult times.
An area that is often overlooked that can generate a large amount of revenue is an oil tank replacement program. I know that many will say that this is not new business, but most companies just think of a tank replacement when it leaks — and yes, this has been the most common practice over the years. However, there is a new and more effective method to support the sale of oil tanks and that is to invest in a tank metal thickness test meter. Tank testing should be done at every annual tune-up and recorded in the customer’s file. I would suggest that many of your customers have heard or read about oil tanks that have leaked; so a company that has this type of testing procedure will be looked at as a first-class company that cares about maintaining a clean environment and protecting the home owner.
The test is done with a special ultrasonic sensing device using sound waves. Sound waves travel differently as they pass from one material density to a lesser density or perhaps more. A reading is first taken at the top of the tank and another is taken at several locations along the bottom of the tank. By comparing the sound waves at the top and bottom of the tank, the device can give a true digital read-out as to the tank’s metal thickness, and in turn determine the overall condition of the tank that could result in a new tank installation and of course, more business.
You will have to spend some time with the technicians and sales staff making them aware of how the device works and the company’s overall goal of generating more business. Don’t forget the customer who will also need to know the purpose of the test.
This is the only real way to pre-inspect a tank and avoid a potential environmental catastrophe, which, as we know, often means legal action. The added value to this test is that you will be providing an additional service for the customer, who will receive a report on the tank’s condition, and the company can begin to establish a tank tracking program for each customer. Also, keep in mind that an oil tank does not have to be old to begin deterioration. Many tanks have been installed in damp basements and some of the older tanks do not have a bottom take off where the water can be removed, providing the tank is pitched so that any and all water will end up in the filter. I would like to add that when taking the electronic test at the bottom of the tank, do not scrape any of the blisters that may have formed on the tank’s bottom as this could generate a leak. This, of course, will lead to a dispute with the customer as to how the leak was caused because it was fine prior to the test. We’ve all heard that message loud and clear many times.
I recently attended a training program on tank testing, and I saw actual revenue numbers from a company that did $250,000 in basement tank replacements over a six month period. This same company has supplied a tester to every technician that provides service, and it is a must that all tanks are tested during the annual tune up. Keep in mind, also, a tank that passes in one year could fail the next.
Another suggestion — if you don’t want to invest in the ultrasonic tank tester, when changing a tank, take a look at those tanks that have their own built in tank leak detection device.